For our loyal readers and followers, you may recognize this name. Crist Espiritu. We featured Crist a long while back online and then again in our issue 4: Tomorrow. We loved his work so much and being that he’s a fellow Filipino, we felt the need to check back in with him and his work. And from the looks of things, he’s doing fantastic, muraling murals that are getting noticed– like exposure on Mashable “25 Strikingly Beautiful Murals From Google’s Street Art Project” and continuing the love for social commentary like this gem.
Either way we love Crist and are fully encouraging you to follow along on his tumblr for more pieces like this one. And an inside perspective on street art, skating and the usual barf night out. Further down you can read Crist’s interview with us from Issue 4.
We saw that your mural got picked for “25 Strikingly Beautiful Murals From Google’s Street Art Project”. Was that a surprise? How did that feel?
Yes. It was a surprise. It felt great to be recognized on that level. I like the fact that a lot more people became aware of my art through that. I’m very thankful to Google Street Art project for that one. Shout out to Kim and Austin for making it happen.
You make a lot of social commentary with your art? What ticks you off the most about our society?
Yep. I think art should always stir up questions about the current human condition. What ticks me off? Hmmm. A lot of things, actually. Ha Ha. I’m not great at positivity like most artists these days. But what really bugs me is the very visible lack of critical thinking. People seem to focus too much on petty things nowadays. They spend so much time propagating vanity on social media when the internet is full of free knowledge that one can use to better one’s self. There are more nourishing thoughts to fill one’s head with. I just don’t get most people, I guess.
Walk us through a typical day in your hood.
I usually stay in until late afternoon. I spend the whole day sketching/writing concepts, producing drawings and paintings. After that, when my schedule permits, I go out skating or maybe paint walls. Then I go down to the local skateshop and hangout with friends. Most of the night drink and talk about skate stuff.
What do you love about where you live in the Philippines?
It is really easy to have a great time here. Beer and liquor are still relatively cheaper compared to other countries and the people are very laid back. Doing street art is also relatively easy since abandoned places spring up all the time to be painted on. Traveling in the provinces is also fun and is a very refreshing change of phase.
What could use some improvement?
It is really hard to make a living as a full time artist here. Maybe there are just so few collectors or supporters of the visual arts. It gets quite political too and I really hate that part of the art scene here. It feels like rabid dogs fighting over a single piece of bone most of the time. Things like that could easily get in the way of true creativity if one lacks conviction.
As for the skate scene, there is a serious lack of spot to skate. I guess the architectures here aren’t that conducive to skateboarding and if one ever finds a spot it will most likely be a kick out. DIY spots pop up every once in a while but usually don’t last due to lack of funding and other uncontrollable factors. It’s hard to skate real streets here since you are almost guaranteed to have a run-in with authorities and you get such a small window of time to get something done. That last part kinda makes it fun sometimes though. Makes landing something feel more special.
I see that you designed some art for some skateboards. Tell us about how that collaboration came about?
I did some graphics for Hampaslupa Skateboards Palaboy Wheels. Jack Nonato, the owner of those companies, wanted to start truly Filipino skate brands. I love the idea so I instantly got on board when he asked me to do some art for them. The art I made, especially for the wheels, are heavily inspired by Filipino street culture. So far, the boards and wheels are well received by the skaters here. It’s a great feeling whenever I see someone skating something that got my art on it. It inspires me to do more and I feel like I’m giving something back to the culture that has molded me to what I am today.
On Oahu, our skate scene is very tight. There’s quite a range of talents and creativity here. And thanks to Travis Hancock (shoutout) we have a skate showcase of filmmakers annually. Tell us about your skate scene.
Nice! That sounds great. The skate scene here, I think, is just starting to get big. When I started skating during the mid 90’s there are only a few skaters around and everybody knows everybody since basically you see the same faces at every event. Now there are a lot of young ones picking up a skateboard and getting into the culture which I think is interesting. A lot of them are getting really good too and are very dedicated to skateboarding like my friend, Rahseed Al Rasheed. A lot of companies are also starting to give out proper sponsorship to local talents. There will be big changes in the Philippine skate scene these coming years.
Any new projects coming up?
Right now I’m focusing on mural projects and working on a new series of artworks for a show. I will definitely let you guys know once everything is scheduled. Will send you previews of the artworks as well.
If you could go anywhere else in the world… where would you go?
Oh man, there are so many places me and Angge Lorente (my partner) want to go to. We really want to travel the world doing art. I think Japan would be a nice place to visit. Japan just looks crazy fun plus I love the type of art they are doing out there. Italy is also very interesting in terms of street art. The visuals there are just on another level. And of course, I’d love to visit your hometown and meet the Manifold team. Thank you very much for your continued support on my art!